Essien, Odemwingie, Zokora & Cole: Grading Indonesia's EPL imports
Michael Essien (Persib Bandung)
The news that this legend of Ghanaian and African football was coming to Indonesia was not only big news in itself, it suggested something seismic was happening in the country’s football scene.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid man is not your typical marquee signing however. He is an intelligent and efficient midfielder who helps to raise the level of those around him.
Blasting the ball way up over the bar did not go down well, especially as Persib ending up conceding a late equaliser
If fans want long-range rockets or Messi-like dribbles than the 34-year-old is not the man.
So far, it has been a little underwhelming. Essien has scored twice, looked good at times, looked a little lost at others, but overall has not really made a huge impact. And in these parts, that’s not quite enough.
Indonesian supporters and especially Persib fans like – no, they demand – foreign imports make a difference from the get-go. There are no honeymoon periods, even in Bali, and comments from club coach Djadang Nurdjaman, that Essien (and Carlton Cole) had taken time to adapt to the climate and conditions didn’t make much difference.
There has been more written about whether the player will stay for the full season than his exploits on the pitch and that is not a good sign.
Essien has yet to play a full 90 minutes but came very close against Borneo on May 20.
He came in for some criticism after that game from team manager Umuh Muchtar. The talkative official was not happy that Essien took a second-half penalty instead of the designated kicker.
Blasting the ball way up over the bar did not go down well, especially as Persib ending up conceding a late equaliser.
FourFourTwo Grade: C
Overall he hasn’t been bad. But for such a big name, not playing badly isn’t good enough.